Maybe this list can serve as an antidote to all the other bestseller lists you’ve seen recently. Imagine a world where Marvel and DC only hold 6 of the top 25 slots. 19 of our Top 25 were from independent publishers like Oni, D&Q, Dark Horse, Picturebox, Adhouse, IDW… Le Dernier Cri!
6 of our Top 25 bestsellers weren’t even available from Diamond. But we sold the shit out of them anyway.
This is the world I live in and it’s not by accident. I knew that Portland could support a store like this; a store that focuses on independent comics just as much as mainstream superhero stuff; a store where you can actually find something cool that you haven’t heard of before. Customers have remarked that the book selection feels curated, which in turn, curates and attracts the type of customers that would appreciate such a selection.
A couple notes on how the list was compiled. This is based on dollar amount, so I multiplied quantity sold by retail price. I also eliminated certain redundancies where applicable. Meaning, I only let Walking Dead, Grant Morrison’s Batman, Scott Pilgrim, etc… appear on the list once, even though other volumes or issue numbers may have been among the bestsellers.
1. SCOTT PILGRIM VOL. 6 (Oni)
2. KICK ASS HC (Marvel/Icon)
3. TO TEACH: THE JOURNEY IN COMICS (Teachers College Press)
4. FAMILY MAN VOL. 1 (Self published)
5. WILSON HC (D&Q)
6. WALKING DEAD VOL. 11 (Image)
7. X ED OUT (Pantheon)
8. BLACKSAD (Dark Horse)
9. IF N OOF (Picturebox)
10. MESMO DELIVERY SERVICE (Dark Horse)
11. CROSSED VOL. 1 TP (Avatar)
12. PRISON PIT BOOK 2 (Fantagraphics)
13. RICHARD STARK’S PARKER THE OUTFIT (IDW)
14. BATWOMAN HC (DC)
15. THB COMICS FROM MARS #2 (Adhouse)
16. INCOGNITO VOL. 1 TP (Marvel/Icon)
17. TEKKON KINKREET (Viz)
18. BATMAN RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #1 (DC)
19. FINAL CRISIS TP (DC)
20. ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY #20 (D&Q)
21. CAPACITY TP (Secret Acres)
22. JOHNNY 23 (Le Dernier Cri)
23. POWR MASTRS 3 (Picturebox)
24. NEMESIS #1 (Marvel/Icon)
25. POP GUN WAR CHAIN LETTER 2 (Self published)
Things we learned from 2010’s list:
All of the Marvel books on the list were from Icon. Bendis’ Scarlet #1 is right there at the 26th spot.
Four of the titles were from book release parties held in 2010. None of which were 1st Thursday events. Ryan Alexander-Tanner, Bill Ayers, Dylan Meconis, Brian Chippendale, and C.F. all brought their own crowds. Congratulations guys!
Theo Ellsworth’s CAPACITY made the list two years in a row (so did Tekkon Kinkreet). That is awesome. If you still haven’t heard of this book maybe now you will.
16 of the Top 25 sellers were by auteurs, meaning the book was written and drawn by the same person. Purity of vision.
10 of the Top 25 books were black and white. 11 if you count Johnny 23.
Garth Ennis’ bestselling book was from Avatar. I maintain that the books Ennis and Ellis are doing for Avatar are way more interesting than the Marvel work they’re doing.
Our bestselling X-Book was X-Women.
The list is based on dollar amounts, which is is why you’ll see more trades and hardcovers than single issues. That’s what brought in the most sales. I read an interview where a retailer referred to customers who wait for the trade as “cheapskates”. First of all, anyone who spends any money on comics, period, is our friend. Second, it’s just as common for someone to come to the register with 3 or 4 trades as it is for someone to buy a stack of 5 or 6 single issues. Which transaction do you think adds up faster?
There’s more interesting indie data just beyond the Top 25 list. If we were to look a bit further we would see books by Lisa Hanawalt, Tom Neely, Jim Rugg, Matt Furie, Michael Deforge and Benjamin Marra selling just as well as the Fables, Blackest Nights, and Avengers of the world.
I hope this data is useful or encouraging to independent comics makers who didn’t make the Diamond Top 500. If there’s a demand for good comics here in Portland I know it can happen elsewhere too. I’ve met retailers like the Daves at Secret Headquarters and Gabe at Desert Island who are forging new markets, creating new readers, and providing cultural hubs for their local comics communities.
Looking forward to an even better 2011 in our new location… right next door in the old Portland Art Center space (32 NW 5th) with twice as much square footage. New and improved Grass Hut too. Grand opening is February 3rd with an art exhibit by Mike Allred.